Sunday, 9 August 2015

England have won the Ashes!

Three weeks ago the Ashes series stood at 1-1 and the force seemed to be with Australia, surely there fearsome bowling attack would continue to rout England while their batsmen piled on the runs?  Well it didn't quite work out like that!

The fourth test was very much a carbon copy of the third but if anything England were even more dominant.  Broad took 8-15 to help destroy Australia for 60.  Then Joe Root scored 130 and England declared with a lead of 331.  Aus were better in their second innings but even with the openers putting together a century opening stand, the ball was still nipping around and wickets seemed inevitable.  Ben Stokes done the damage second time around finishing with 6-36 and England won the match by an innings and took the series.  Injury to Jimmy Anderson made no difference, unlike the injury to Harris before the series started.

Australia's bowling attack looked very good on paper but in truth they haven't been able to maintain pressure and haven't been able to exploit "English conditions".  Only Starc has had any real impact while four different English bowlers have taken a  '6 for' in this series.

It's Australia's batsmen that have been most disappointing.  Smith has played one great innings and had one good match.  Other than that only Rogers and Warner have been anywhere near good enough.  Every time England have managed to take early wickets the aged, inexperienced middle order has been blown away.  Opener Lyth has struggled but otherwise all England's batsmen have contributed at some stage.  The catching from all, including Lyth, has been superb.

There's one last test match to go and as long as England retain their focus they should wrap the series up 4-1.  I expect they'll name an unchanged side, giving Lyth another chance and not risking Anderson.  It's Australia with the selection problems and for a one off match they could do worse than recalling Haddin, Siddle and even Watson!

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